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Name: Arthur Henry "Harry" Cobby Balloon-Buster
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and 2 Bars
Arthur Cobby
Country: Australia
Rank: Captain
Service: Australian Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
Units: 4 (AFC)
71 (RFC)
Victories: 29
Born: 26 August 1894
Place of Birth: Prahran, Victoria
Died: 11 November 1955
Place of Death:
 
 
The second of four sons born to Arthur Edward Stanley Cobby and his wife Alice, née Nash, Harry Cobby was educated at University College, Armadale. A Militia officer for several years, Cobby gave up his job as a clerk in the Commonwealth Bank to join the Australian Flying Corps on 22 December 1916. He received six weeks of training at Point Cook, flying Graham-White and Bristol Boxkites before shipping out to England for further training on the Shorthorn at Waddington in Lincoln. At the Central Flying School at Upavon, Cobby received his pilot's graduation ticket whilst training on the Sopwith Camel. Without benefit of air gunnery training, he was bound for France on 18 December 1917 with 71 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps (soon after, 71 Squadron was renamed 4 Squadron). A cunning and aggressive pilot, Cobby scored 29 victories flying Camels. He was the highest scoring ace in the Australian Flying Corps and the only Australian credited with downing 5 balloons.
 
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Lt. (temp. Capt.) Arthur Henry Cobby (Australian Flying Corps).
   Has proved himself a very gallant and successful fighter and patrol leader, setting a fine example to the squadron.
   Within the last few months he has destroyed a number of enemy balloons and aeroplanes.
 
Distinguished Flying Cross (DSO) Bar
Lieut. (T./Capt.) Arthur Henry Cobby, D.F.C. (Australian Flying Corps).
   An officer whose success as a leader is due not only to high courage and brilliant flying, but also to the clear judgment and presence of mind he invariably displays. His example is of great value to other pilots in his squadron. During recent operations he shot down five machines in eleven days, accounting for two in one day.
   (D.F.C. gazetted 3rd August, 1918.)
 
Distinguished Flying Cross (DSO) Second Bar
Lieut. (T./Capt.) Arthur Henry Cobby, D.F.C. (Australian Flying Corps).
   One evening this officer, in company with another machine, attacked five Pfaltz Scouts, destroying two; one fell in flames, and one broke up in the air. The officer who accompanied him brought down a third machine out of control. While engaged in this combat they were attacked from above by five triplanes. Displaying cool judgment and brilliant flying, Captain Cobby evaded this attack and returned to our lines in safety, both machines, being undamaged. A determined and most skilful leader, who has destroyed twenty-one hostile machines or balloons, accounting for three machines and two balloons in four days.
   (The announcement of award of first Bar is also contained in this Gazette; D.F. Cross was gazetted on 3rd August, 1918.)
 
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Lieut. (T./Capt.) Arthur Henry Cobby, D.F.C. (Australian F.C.).
   On the 16th August this officer led an organised raid on an enemy aerodrome. At 200 feet altitude he obtained direct hits with his bombs and set on fire two hangars; he then opened fire on a machine which was standing out on the aerodrome. The machine caught fire. Afterwards he attacked with machine-gun fire parties of troops and mechanics, inflicting a number of casualties. On the following day he led another important raid on an aerodrome, setting fire to two hangars and effectively bombing gun detachments, anti-aircraft
batteries, etc.
    The success of these two raids was largely due to the determined and skilful leadership of this officer.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 21 Mar 1918 0905 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (B2535) Albatros D.V (OOC) S of Brebieres
2 21 Mar 1918 0905 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (B2535) Albatros D.V (DES) S of Brebieres
3 30 Mar 1918 1215 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (B2535) Pfalz D.III (DES) SE of Arras
4 10 Apr 1918 0940 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (B2535) Albatros D.V (DES) SE of Estaires
5 20 May 1918 0745 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1893) Pfalz D.III (DES) Neuve-Eglise
6 21 May 1918 1100 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1893) Balloon (DES) Merville
7 30 May 1918 1650 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Albatros D.V (DESF) Estaires
8 31 May 1918 1657 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Balloon (DES) Estaires
9 01 Jun 1918 0920 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Balloon (DES) N of Estaires
10 01 Jun 1918 0935 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Albatros D.V (DES) Estaires
11 17 Jun 1918 1950 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Pfalz D.III (DES) E of Laventie
12 17 Jun 1918 1950 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Pfalz D.III (DES) E of Laventie
13 19 Jun 1918 1845 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Pfalz D.III (DES) Nieppe Forest
14 25 Jun 1918 1935 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Pfalz D.III (DES) Estaires-Laventie
15 26 Jun 1918 1805 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Pfalz D.III (DES) SE of Armentières
16 28 Jun 1918 1455 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) LVG C (DES) E of Outtersteene
17 28 Jun 1918 1505 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Pfalz D.III (DESF) SE of Estaires
18 28 Jun 1918 1840 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Halberstadt C (DES) Wytschaete
19 02 Jul 1918 1535 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Balloon (DES) Bac St. Maur
20 02 Jul 1918 1600 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (D1929) Fokker DR.I (DES) NE of La Bassée
21 09 Jul 1918 1940 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) AGO C (DES) NE of Gravelin
22 14 Jul 1918 0718 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) Balloon (DES) Estaires-La Bassée
23 15 Jul 1918 1725 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) Pfalz D.III (DESF) Armentières
24 15 Jul 1918 1725 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) Pfalz D.III (DES) Armentières
25 06 Aug 1918 2050 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) LVG C (DES) SE of Bac St. Maur
26 07 Aug 1918 1235 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) C (DES) Lestrem
27 07 Aug 1918 1245 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) Pfalz D.III (DES) SE of Armentières
28 16 Aug 1918 1315 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel Fokker D.VII (DES) 1 Wavrin
29 04 Sep 1918 0715 4 (AFC) Sopwith Camel (E1416) Fokker D.VII (OOC) Near Wattignies

1 Shared with Lt D C Carter, Lt R King, Lt J R Edols, 2Lt M H Eddie, Norman Trescowthick
 
Books
Franks, Norman. Sopwith Camel Aces of World War 1. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2003
Cobby, A.H. High Adventure: The Autobiography of Australia's Most Famous W.W.1 Flying Ace. Melbourne: Kookaburra Technical Pulications Pty. Ltd., 1981
 
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